BOOK CLUB: Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina

Gods and Beasts

bookclubreads_Alex MorrowWelcome to BOOK CLUB, a joint venture between me and Jen from Devourer of Books.  Today we are discussing Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina,  published by Reagan Arthur Books. It’s the final book in our exploration of Alex Morrow and “tartan noir”.

 From The Publisher: It’s the week before Christmas when a lone robber bursts into a busy Glasgow post office carrying an AK-47. An elderly man suddenly hands his young grandson to a stranger and wordlessly helps the gunman fill bags with cash, then carries them to the door. He opens the door and bows his head; the robber fires off the AK-47, tearing the grandfather in two.

DS Alex Morrow arrives on the scene and finds that the alarm system had been disabled before the robbery. Gods and BeastsYet upon investigation, none of the employees can be linked to the gunman. And the grandfather-a life-long campaigner for social justice-is above reproach. As Morrow searches for the killer, she discovers a hidden, sinister political network. Soon it is chillingly clear: no corner of the city is safe, and her involvement will go deeper than she could ever have imagined.

If you plan on participating in today’s BOOK CLUB, please consider subscribing to comments at the bottom of the page, and check back throughout the day as more questions are added to the post.

  • What were your general impressions of the book, and how did your thoughts and opinions evolve as the story unfolded?
  • We’ve now followed Alex over the course of three novels. How did your thoughts about her change over the course of the series? Were your expectations justified? Were there other things you wanted for this character?
  • After reading these novels over the course of the summer what do you think of Mina’s writing and choice of topics? What kind of picture do you get of Scotland, their police force and women in that industry?I think all of us have been interested in her relationship with Danny. Their background and upbringing have led them down different paths, and their relationship has been tenuous at best. What did you think of the latest developments? Were you surprised?
  • Mina and Morrow explore different types of crimes and family dynamics in each novel, which of the stories resonated the most with you? How would you compare Scottish and
  • What’s next for Alex? Is this a series you will continue to read?

12 copies of Gods and Beasts were provided by Reagan Arthur Books in order to facilitate this discussion. Thank you so much!

1DA652C2516038AE4D02F55645591F39 BOOK CLUB   Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung

You may also like


  1. Gods and Beasts paints a really dark picture of Scotland, or at least Glasgow. Personally I’m wondering if it is really as bad as all that, if the city and the police force are really so corrupt.

    A couple things I really want to talk about are Harris and Danny. Did you see either of those revelations coming? Harris completely shocked me, maybe not in the context of this book and his paranoia, but in the context of everything we’ve read so far. Now I’m rethinking his campaign against Bannerman, and wondering if it actually had something to do with his corruption. Danny surprised me, only because it Alex seemed so sure that he was heading towards the straight and narrow when really he’s ramping up his game.

  2. Chiming in to say anticlimactically that I’m only about 100 pages in, so I’m skimming over the questions and will probably stay away from others’ posts until I finish! But so far I have been struck by how it’s so much more novel than mystery. At least to me. I’m interested in Martin’s character development, and the relationship between politician and his wife (blanking on the names). But there’s not that driving plotty sense of suspense – the police station and detectives are just characters and settings. That’s not a criticism, just an observation. And maybe the mysteryness, the who-why-how-done-it will pick up when I get farther in.

    Will look forward to reading over the discussion at a later date!

    1. You’re right, actually. Her books are sort of police procedurals without much actual mystery. The ‘who’ is often a mystery to Alex (maybe not so much in this book), but it is generally only the ‘why’ that is a mystery to everyone else. I guess in The End of the Wasp Season the question was more ‘which,’ but it all sort of amounts to the same thing. An interesting observation, that. I sort of automatically lumped them together with mysteries because of the setting but they aren’t quite.

  3. I’m going to give this thread a pass since I haven’t read the books yet. Not my usual brand of book but having read your and Jen’s reviews I think I may have to try it.

  4. I have really enjoyed this series, and I’m looking forward to more of them.

    I am still on the fence about whether or not I *like* Alex Morrow. I like her much more than when the series first started, but there are still things about her that annoy me a little. She is very confusing when it comes to her feelings about Danny, but I understand that she’s conflicted. I just get annoyed with the fact that she’s all nostalgic and loving him one minute, and then the next minute she’s disparaging him again and thinking about how she never wants to be in contact with him again. It’s…weird.

    I was actually very surprised with the revelation about Danny at the end of the book. Mina had me convinced that he was trying to clean up his act and be a better person. I had no inkling that he was the one who owned the taxis, although I feel like I *should* have known that. It disappoints me, too, because I do think Danny is a good guy, and I was really pulling for him. Shoot. Haha!

    Like Jen said, Mina definitely paints a very dark picture of Glasgow, but I’m sure there are cities in our country that are just as bad. The people who live there probably know it, although we may never hear about it. I was glad to see that Leonard didn’t get the boot (I thought for sure because she’s a woman, she’d be the first to go, seeing as how they tend to treat women very differently on that police force). Maybe that police force isn’t quite as bad as I thought it was.

    Also like Jen, I was totally shocked about Harris. And I also wonder now if his fight against Bannerman was because Bannerman knew something, or if Bannerman was looking into things Harris was doing. Harris seemed awfully nervous when he thought Bannerman might be one of the members of the PSU investigating the force. He was way too nervous to just be worried about how he got Bannerman moved to a different department. And I kind of liked Harris, so I’m disappointed in him.

  5. Oh, and I was very weirded out by Martin (the tendencies toward violence, even though it was mostly in his head). I would have liked his part of the story to get wrapped up a little better. I don’t like the thought of him just wandering around out there (especially so close to Rita and Joe) without knowing what he’s up to.

  6. I just got back from vacation so only about 100 pages into the book, but still wanted to discuss it thus far! I skipped most of the other comments in case of spoilers!
    I still like Alex. I think I liked her more in Still Midnight though. She was tougher then, but had more character to her it seems like. I have been to Scotland, but not Glasgow but the vibe over there was Glasgow was a tough city, so it may be a pretty accurate portrayal of the city. Unfortunately I think we have corruption in more of our local law enforcement agencies than we know about or want to believe is going on.
    I really have enjoyed this series and look forward to reading more about Alex for sure!

      1. I thought I would comment now that I finished the book! I was surprised about Danny at the end. But like someone else commented – should I have been?? He is too wrapped up in that lifestyle to completely change I think.
        I felt like something was missing in this book. I was confused at times with the Martin storyline and wanted more of an explanation for his role. Overall I enjoyed it and will read more for sure!